Put fear of ‘Jaws’ on pause

“You’ll never go in the water again.”

That was the 1975 advertising slogan for the first feature film from then relatively unknown director Steven Spielberg. And “Jaws” did sufficiently scare many folks who had long enjoyed going into the ocean to drop that recreational habit.

Two years later, “Jaws 2,” sold with the line “Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water,” produced its own blockbuster disincentive for taking a dip at the seashore.

But while people who swim in the ocean do swim with, and on rare occasions are bitten by sharks, fear of that infinitesimal risk is vastly misplaced.

And as The Post and Courier’s Bo Petersen recently reported, though lots of people have been seeing lots of sharks in S.C. coastal waters lately, that predictable development of peak migration season is not a fair cause for stay-out-of-the-water alarm.

Yes, a man swimming off Sullivan’s Island needed stitches after being nipped by a shark that witnesses described as about six feet long on May 15.

Yet as our story reported:

“Most shark ‘attacks’ are just tasting nips when a human thrashing in murky water is mistaken for prey, experts agree. Serious wounds are rare, and South Carolina hasn’t had a fatal attack since the 1850s. That’s despite the fact that at least 39 of the world’s 400-plus shark species are found off South Carolina, including the massive great white shark, and the 1,200-pound tiger” tagged last month off of Hilton Head Island by S.C. Department of Natural Resources marine biologist Bryan Frazier.

Our story even reported: “Statistically, you’re more likely to be bitten by another person than a shark.”

And never going in the water again can’t protect you from that uncommon hazard.